Here’s a meal to be happy about: McDonalds announced its plans to open its first vegetarian restaurant in India next year. The double arched and second largest fast food chain in the world will be replacing their Big Macs with vegetarian options like McAloo Tikki burgers and more.
Despite the fact that the current population of India is 1.2 billion, it has been challenging for the restaurant to break through and impact the market, even with a menu that is 50 percent vegetarian.
As cows are considered sacred by the Hindus and the consumption of pork is prohibited for Muslims, McDonalds deemed it was time to step up their game. “When you look at the potential of the country, it’s one of the top priority countries and we’re laying the groundwork for capturing the market,” a spokesman for McDonald’s in northern India, Rajesh Kumar Maini, told AFP. “It was the whole idea of going local and creating flavours that would create acceptance for us.”
Who knew the franchise infamous for its poor treatment of animals would be the first fast food chain to break through as leaders in cow protection? It’s surely a sign that the times are a-changin’.
The vegetarian fast food chain will be located next to the Golden Temple, a pilgrimage site sacred to Sikhs and located in Amritsar. “It will be the first time we have opened a vegetarian restaurant in the world,” said Maini to AFP. The company will be opening a second location in Kashmir, near the Vaishno Devi shrine.
Planning a pilgrimage through India next year? This might just be worth breaking your fast and spending a few extra rupees. The cows will thank you and the Gods might just even bless you.
Now, we’re left wishing on a lucky star: wouldn’t it be great to see the fast food chain open the doors of its next vegetarian restaurant in the states?
Vanessa Harris is graduate of Pepperdine University who completed her teacher training in India. Her experience includes writing, making malas or prayer beads, serving as an associate producer at Bhakti Fest, and contributing as the Editorial Coordinator at Bliss Network.